We used Interior West Forest Inventory and Analysis (IW-FIA) data to identify conditions where pinyon-juniper woodlands provide security cover, thermal cover, and suitable amounts of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp.) forage to mule deer in Utah. Roughly one quarter of Utah’s pinyon-juniper woodlands had a big sagebrush component in their understory. Security cover was the least abundant habitat component investigated and only an estimated three percent of Utah’s pinyon-juniper contained forage, security, and thermal cover concurrently. Area of potential mule deer habitat was generally distributed within ecoregion provinces in Utah in proportion to the spatial extent of each province. Quantile regression analysis suggests that when there is less than 22 percent crown cover, more than 20 percent of pinyon-juniper woodlands can be expected to have greater than 15 percent sagebrush cover. We demonstrate the utility of FIA data as an estimator of current habitat features and a long-term monitoring tool and show how quantile regression can be a useful tool for analyzing data with heterogeneous variation.
Witt, Chris and Patterson, Paul L.
"Big Sagebrush in Pinyon-juniper Woodlands: Using Forest Inventory and Analysis Data as a Management Tool for Quantifying and Monitoring Mule Deer Habitat,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 16, Article 27.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol16/iss1/27